Today was a shortened day for the kids and an afternoon of building based PD for the schools. Our school had set aside time for lunch and planning as well as, what we call SES Learns, a chance to learn with, and from colleagues. I
The later part of the afternoon, SES Learns, was divided into three 20 minute sessions. Every staff member was able to choose the sessions they would attend. The sessions varied from coding, to diffusion art, to book shares, to morning meeting, to meal planning, to volleyball to multisyllabic word work. From the choices, it was obvious that the people I see every day, have talents and expertise both in and out of school!
I have to admit, I was not feeling all that energized going into the afternoon. I planned my session but doubted that anyone would attend as there were so many other new and worthwhile sessions happening at the same time as mine. I knew if no one showed, I’d just go to a session of my choice – I would in no way be offended, I like the people I work with too much!
As it turned out, I got a few attendees. We spent a simple 20 minutes together, writing, drawing, thinking together. In the end we shared. Then, I got to go learn. I went to a crowded room where, Leign-ann shared her experiences with meal prepping. We listened to her tips for organizing, shopping and eating healthy. We walked away from that session with a few recipes! From there, I went to our Bookpalooza. Our fabulous colleague, Rae-Ann had curated two tables full of books for all ages. She briefly held up a few, ok more than a few, of her recent favorites and then we all had time to read and peruse the books ourselves. Rae, with her book expertise kept circulating sharing more and reminding us to keep our libraries fresh, diverse, and new. Our school psychologists and speech teachers were scooping up books. Of course, our classroom teachers were soaking it all up.
We ended our day back in the cafeteria and the energy was high. We wrote thank you notes to presenters and attendees. Our generous administrators even had a little gift for each presenter AND they raffled off a few books!
I sat next to Jess and we both agreed it was a good afternoon of PD. People were relaxed. As they passed from session to session, there was a calm in the hall. In each session, you could feel the appreciation for each other, for our school community.
We’ve had SES Learns before. As a district, we’ve done Westport Learns for a whole day of PD. I think this structure has power because it is rooted in choice. Presenters get to choose if and what they’ll share. Attendees get to choose where they will spend their time and what they want to learn. When they walk into a session, they go in open and ready to learn.
The people, the structure, and, of course, the choice were just what I wanted and I didn’t even know it!
PS – Although my session was small, intimate, I knew that Mike and Rae had chosen to be there and that was all I needed.